Social media has become our go-to platform to have our voices heard, from venting to sharing important life events. There are, however, situations where writing a Facebook post or tweeting might not be in your best interest. This is why working with an experienced divorce attorney may help you with how to handle social media during a divorce. Let’s take a closer look at best practices for posting on social media during a divorce.
Are Social Media Posts Admissible in Court?
Many people assume that a court will not consider social media screenshots as admissible evidence during a divorce. However, divorce attorneys may advise you to not post anything on social media that would damage your case. Content from social media can still be admissible in court as long as it is relevant to the case, according to the American Bar Association.
Rule 901: Authenticating or Identifying Evidence – The court has to establish proof of authorship to use it. In most cases, you’ll have to admit that you wrote the post for this piece of evidence to be admissible. Claiming that you didn’t write a Facebook or other social media post, or that someone hacked your account, might make the evidence inadmissible. You should remember that judges will look to assess your character during the divorce proceedings to determine what is best for the children that might be involved.
A social media screenshot might not be legally admissible, but it will still influence the final decision of the judge. Any attorney will advise you to take a break from social media or limit what you share on platforms such as Facebook to avoid providing your ex-spouse with any information they can use against you.
How Can Social Media Affect a Divorce Case?
The information you share on social media can influence several aspects of your divorce case.
#1. Dividing Property and Debt
You and your ex-spouse will have to decide how to divide assets and debt during a divorce. If you can’t agree, a judge will decide how to divide property and liability. Posting pictures on social media of a new asset you acquired while waiting for the finalization of your divorce can be tempting. A judge might consider that you used common funds to acquire the new item and deduct its value from your share of the distributed assets.
#2. Custody Arrangements
While some couples can agree on a joint custody arrangement with a parenting plan that creates a custody schedule, some couples end up in court battles seeking sole custody. If a judge grants sole custody to one of the parents, the other will typically get visitation rights.
Any kind of social media post that sheds a negative light on your person or ability to parent your children can affect custody arrangements. Attorneys will remind you that, for instance, sharing pictures of yourself engaging in illegal activities or partying excessively can hurt your chances of getting a joint custody arrangement or result in limited visitations.
#3. Alimony and Child Support
A court will consider how much you earn when creating a spousal or child support plan. Social media posts that showcase a luxurious lifestyle, new purchases, or claims about how much you earn can result in higher payments or the court reviewing these plans.
#4. Prenuptial Agreements
Did you sign a prenuptial agreement? Prenups typically protect the assets of both parties and establish how the couple will handle assets in a divorce. In some cases, couples include an infidelity clause that calls for having one party make retribution to the other in the event of adultery. What you share on social media can become evidence that you violated one of the clauses if you signed a prenup.
#5. Defamation Cases
Divorce can be hurtful for everyone involved. You might be angry at your ex-spouse and want to get back at them. While venting about these feelings can be helpful, making them public on Facebook or Twitter is not a good idea. Everything you share online will leave a trace. Your ex-spouse or their attorney can decide to use it as evidence in a defamation case if what you wrote can hurt your ex-spouse’s reputation.
#6. After the Divorce
Your social media behavior can have repercussions after the divorce. For instance, badmouthing your ex-spouse on social media can be grounds for revising a custody agreement.
Social Media Do’s and Don’ts During a Divorce
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind if you’re going through a divorce.
- You can announce your divorce on social media, but be respectful and consider asking your ex-spouse whether you can post.
- Ask close friends and relatives not to discuss your divorce on social media.
- Consider taking a break from social media and setting your account to private.
- Think about your children, relatives, and anyone else you could hurt by sharing your negative feelings online.
- Remember that everything you share online can come back later and hurt your reputation.
- Ask your friends to respect your privacy and not tag you in posts or pictures for a while.
- Change your social media and email passwords if your ex-spouse has access to this information.
- Avoid sharing the details of your divorce. Respect the privacy of your ex-spouse.
- Don’t badmouth your ex-spouse.
- Don’t discuss your income or share posts that suggest you’re living a lavish lifestyle.
- Never share content showing you engaging in illegal activities.
- Don’t share anything that could make you come across as an irresponsible parent.
- Don’t use social media to stalk your ex-spouse. It’s healthier to take a step back.
Get Help From CJB Law
Family law is one of our specialties at CJB Law. Our compassionate attorneys always have your best interest in mind and can help you navigate the process of getting a divorce, negotiating child custody arrangements, and dividing assets.
We offer free case evaluations and can answer all of your questions about social media and other aspects of getting a divorce. Contact us today for more information.